Mental health is a heavily stigmatized topic. To date, it is hard to talk about mental health issues without numerous misconceptions polluting the conversation. There are still countless people who believe that mental health issues are not as severe as they seem. These individuals are willing to downplay the impact mental health has on people, including its effect on society. This is why raising mental health awareness as much as possible is pivotal. Like physical illnesses, mental health also needs a proper diagnostic route to get treated. If you or a loved one suffers from mental health ailments, it’s time to get help.
The longer you ignore your symptoms, the more they will consume you. But asking for help is not easy. The taboo surrounding the topic pushes those who need help into the shadows. It prevents them from actively getting their health evaluated. The only way forward is to break these notions and sweep the stigma surrounding mental health issues away. If you are a professional who wants to help raise mental health awareness, here’s what you can do:
1. Only Allow Experts To Talk About Mental Disorders
When discussing mental health issues, you need an educated and qualified person to discuss these conditions. Therefore only qualified experts like nurses and doctors who have specialized in psychiatry and psychology should lead these discussions. You can contribute to this cause by ensuring you have the proper credentials. If you’re a registered nurse who wants to help tackle mental health problems, you must get the relevant qualifications. Fortunately, there are online programs available that can assist you with your education.
By looking into PMHNP certificate programs online, you can ensure that you pursue the right post-master certificate that gives you the skills and knowledge you need to discuss mental health. Your degree should teach you how to identify, diagnose and treat different mental health conditions without getting perplexed. This is because each ailment is unique and follows a specific diagnostic route.
Suppose you allow anyone to talk about mental health problems. They may use terms interchangeably, confuse one disease for another, and fail to acknowledge the magnitude of each mental health problem. For example, it is easy to confuse bipolar disorder and personality disorder as the same disease. However, both conditions are vastly different, require various medications, and exhibit ranging symptoms. As a result, more misinformation will spread, and mental health problems will remain repressed.
2. Teach People To Use The Appropriate Language
People use offensive terms to mock or taunt those with mental health issues. Even if it is meant to be humorous, it contributes more to the problem than helping solve it. People with mental health issues need immense kindness and compassion. They may already feel overwhelmed by their general state of mind and don’t need the added trouble. Therefore, you must work on actively removing insulting words from everyone’s vocabulary.
This involves giving lectures at schools, publishing textbooks, and using social media platforms to ban these words. You may also need to visit workplaces and talk to them about using appropriate language when referring to mental health issues. You can also take this workshop further and advise on the appropriate behavior and reactions a person should have if a patient is having an episode. This can prevent a significant mishap and allow the patient to get timely help instead of worsening their condition.
3. Make Healthcare Accessible
Mental health is a part of the healthcare sector, yet it doesn’t get the same treatment and attention as other ailments. Therapists and counselors don’t come cheap, nor does the medication necessary for treatment. This cannot be very encouraging for most people since they may not have the means to afford the help they need. Insurance companies also ignore mental health and focus more on physical health complications, making finances an issue. Unless mental health treatment is made accessible, progress is hard. You can play your part by compiling a list of therapists and counselors who operate at a lower cost.
These professionals can offer their services online or connect patients to an affordable doctor. You should urge insurance companies to add psychiatrists to the healthcare experts list. Remind these companies that most Medical aid users are veterans, and with a large percentage of them dealing with PTSD, they need help more than ever. Schools and workplaces should also look into hiring professional psychiatrists and counselors. These experts should be allowed to carry out annual screenings and tests to ensure that the employee or pupil is faring well and can manage their stress.
4. Mainstream Information
Lack of information and the lack of resources breeds misconceptions. People who cannot comprehend research papers or make sense of textbooks discussing mental health may discard its importance. Data is only helpful if it can reach the mass population. You need to provide resources that the community can understand and relate to. Start by making TV shows and hosting talk shows and podcasts centered around mental health. You should include disclaimers on helplines and services patients can use if they need help.
Children should also be part of the conversation; toddlers as young as four can experience mental health ailments and should not be left alone to deal with their condition. You can look into making cartoons, pamphlets, and books that can quickly tell children what they are experiencing. Use the power of influencers and celebrities to make your point. These stars can use their platforms to talk about why mental health concerns occur, the factors that lead up to it, and if they are also struggling against a condition.
In the 21st century, mental health should no longer be a taboo. Yet, this topic is still not getting the recognition it deserves. But this needs to change. The best way to break the cycle is actively combating it. You can do it by using only a panel of experts to discuss mental health and how to identify it. Help people understand the type of language acceptable when referring to mental health problems and make the pathway to treatment accessible. Furthermore, making information more comprehensive for a layperson prevents ambiguities and confusion, encouraging people to understand what mental health is. Whether you’re a nurse, doctor, or social worker, you can play your part in raising mental health awareness for a more peaceful society.